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I was introduced to shape note singing when my life was teetering on the edge of personal and financial ruin. The love that total strangers extended to me helped me survive and heal. Every time I go to a singing I once again meet old and new friends, all united in raising our voices together. Singing tunes that have been sung in a musical style that goes back to our earliest settlers, praising God, mourning our trials and tribulations and just joyously singing together. Gathering together in small groups in a home, or singing with hundreds of other people in Birmingham, and Chicago, and everywhere in between. We sing joyously at weddings, and with tears streaming down our faces at funerals.

We sing with young children who bring a chair into the square so they can rest their book as they lead with the grace taught to them by their elders. We sing with older people who don't remember much about their lives today, but they lead their lessons by memory of the many years they have been singing these tunes. We sing with new singers who come because they love the music which is different from anything they have ever heard before. We sing with and honor the people who have been singing a long time and who take the time and money to travel all over the country teaching us newbies their traditions and the different styles and "how to do it right".

Thank you, all my singing friends. "All is well, all is well" Virginia Douglas